I remember well the humble beginnings of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) more than two decades ago. Professor Frederick Krantz founded the organization at the time of Israel’s first intifada and placed a lot of energy on Canadian university campuses.
The CIJR began informally as a group of pro-Israel academics Krantz (right) got together in the winter of 1987, most of whom had already started to respond to the sudden negative media associated with the beginnings of the first intifada against Israel. As CIJR reps were invited to speak at shuls and organizations, and spontaneous financial contributions began to be made, the need for some support, secretarial and legal, access to a photocopier and a way impersonally to deposit donations and such came about. Krantz turned to the various Jewish organizations and was frankly stunned when they refused any help.
Why this negativity was the case, given the situation being faced back then, remains a mystery to this day, but at a certain point, the CIJR had to either cease functioning, or create its own independent organization. It took the latter route, and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, a non-profit educational foundation, was created, receiving government approval in late 1988.
The Sunday, August 15, the CIJR will hold its an international conference in the morning at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, followed by its 22nd anniversary gala in the evening at the same locale. “Israel, the U.S., and the Iranian Nuclear Threat” is the theme for the business portion of the day. It will bring together outstanding academics, specialists, jouralists, students, organization heads, and prominent members of Montreal’s business and Jewish communities. The high end conference is testament to how the CIJR has thrived based on its independence.
“The general, as well as Jewish, public must be awakened to the profound threat not only to Israel, but also to the Middle East, Europe and the world, represented by the fanatical, genocidal Iranian regime’s imminent possession of a nuclear weapon”, explains Prof. Krantz.
The 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. conference has three goals: (1) to analyze American, Israeli and UN policy in relation to the Iranian threat; (2) to examine strategies, political and military, for countering it; and (3) to make the public and politicians aware of the serious implications of an Iranian nuclear weapon.
The conference will be opened by Krantz. Scholars presenting formal papers at the two morning Panels include Clifford May (President, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies), John Thompson (Mackenzie Institute) and Prof. Asaf Romirowsky (Middle East Forum); Panel Chairs are Profs. Harold Waller (McGill U.) and Norrin Ripsman (Concordia U.).The evening gala will be opened by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a keynote address delivered by Bret Stephens, foreign affairs editor for the Wall Street Journal. The dinner will also feature several CIJR awards, and a special musical performance by the young Quebec singing sensation, Kathleen Reiter. One late addition to the evening Gala: Andrew Roberts, the outstanding British historian and co-founder (with Spain’s former PM Jose Maria Aznar) of The Committee in Defense of Israel (his wonderful article, “What the World Owes the Jewish People”, appeared in last week’s National Post).
Here is something new from Krantz: “CIJR is moving into using , beginning with students in their unique Student Israel Advocacy Program, its unique academic resources - outstanding Academic Fellows drawn from Montreal, Canada, the |US and Israel- to offer for-credit multidisciplinary courses. These will be in the fields of Jewish and Zionist history, the so-called ‘Arab-Israel Conflict,’ which should more properly be called the ‘Arab Conflict, maintained by the Muslim states, to destroy Jewish Israel,’ the diplomatic history and politics of the Middle East, and the history, politics and culture of modern Jewish Israel.
“The need for this international conference—to alert the community to growing regional and world peril in face of an Iranian nuclear weapon, and to gauge concrete steps available to avert it—speaks for itself,” said Krantz.
Registration the conference is only $40 and free for student and must be paid in advance. Persons attending the evening gala, at $500 per person (partially tax-receiptable), can attend the conference gratis.
The CIJR is indeed unique in the community. In the fall of 2000, its daily Isranet briefing e-mail service was launched to counter anti-Israel propaganda, and to keep the public and subscribers informed of daily issues affecting the Jewish people. Each daily briefing consists of multiple opinion pieces, articles, or documents, on current issues. A weekly French-language Communiqué Isranet bulletin is also available. The CIJR’s ISRAFAX quarterly magazine is distributed across Canada and internationally. The editors of ISRAFAX include key articles from major international newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, official documents, and websites with varying perspectives on important issues. The Israeli and Arab media are also scanned for timely reports, opinion, and documents. ISRAFAX, as the name implies, was originally sent out by fax machines two decades ago. The CIJR also supports the student-written Dateline: Middle East magazine, distributed on campuses across Canada. It also offers several summer and academic-year student internships.
For more information contact Katrin Kraizgur, at (514) firstname.lastname@example.org.